They say when one door closes another door opens, but what if the first door was your favorite door? What if that was the door that would lead you to a future career on Broadway performing in front of thousands of people each night basking in the pleasant yet deafening sound of applause? What really happens when that door is closed? And, better yet, where exactly will that next door lead you?
These series of questions flooded my brain at the conclusion of my sophomore year of high school. I had attended an all-girls Catholic high school called Saint John Villa. My time in Villa’s performing arts program led me to believe that Broadway was my calling. I thought nothing more of my future than bright lights and belting out the most cliché musical theater songs on a huge stage.
That was, of course, until I received the announcement.
On a random Thursday in January, the vice principal called all students and faculty into the gymnasium. Everyone shuffled in rather quietly. The mood was somber, so the initial thought was that a faculty member had resigned or maybe even a nun had passed away.
If you guessed either one, you would be incorrect.
I can still remember hearing the tremble in my vice principal’s voice when she pressed her lips against the microphone and said, “We are sorry to inform you, but at the end of the year, Saint John Villa will be closing its doors for good.”
Hearing those words felt like a dagger straight to the heart. The school in which I had found such comfort and love would be shutting its doors. The place in which I had truly developed a passion for theatre would force me to take my final bow halfway through my high school career.
What am I supposed to do now?
I spent the next few months attending multiple open houses, but none could compare to my beloved Villa. Running out of options, I reluctantly decided on Fontbonne Hall Academy, another all-girls Catholic school.
The funny thing is, I had conveniently chosen a school that did not prioritize theater as much as Villa, so it was time for me to redirect my focus on something new.
At Fontbonne, we were required to pick an elective in addition to our other required classes. I vividly remember skimming the list and seeing nothing that sounded remotely related to theater.
I decided to take Print Journalism. I mean what else am I going to take? Intro to Neuroscience? I don’t think so.
During the first week, my teacher asked the class to conduct brief interviews with a partner and craft a short article based on our findings. It was a simple assignment, so I thought nothing of it. After submitting the article, my teacher held me back after class and complimented my writing skills. He asked if I would be interested in writing for our student-run newspaper, “The Folio.”
“Um, sure, I guess,” I said, quite unenthusiastically.
At my first meeting, I was asked to complete a featured spotlight on one of the new faculty members. I had never conducted an in-depth interview nor crafted a 600-word article that would be published in a newspaper. This was way outside of my comfort zone.
Eventually, after a stressful week, the piece was finished. Once again, my teacher applauded my writing abilities.
After getting a few more articles under my belt, I started to realize that I might actually have an interest in writing. I might really enjoy telling stories, perhaps, even more than performing.
Not long after that, my teacher elected me editor-in-chief, and I began to realize that maybe this could be my future. Maybe this was the right door all along…